CRUSHIN’ ON HAMI

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The Tiger Beat centerfolds of Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy did not grace the walls of my teeny-bopper bedroom. Nor did Davy Jones and Steve McQueen strike my adolescent fancy. Ok maybe torn-out pictures of Robert Redford and Jim Palmer might have been tacked up on my bulletin board. But what really plastered my walls back in the day were posters of Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Hair – even though I had never set foot in a Broadway theater. Talented actors who could bring captivating stories and soul-stirring songs to life were the stuff of my youthful imagination.

When my children were fifth graders, it was with giddy excitement that they performed in America Rock, a musical about the early days of our country. To this day they can recite the Preamble to the Constitution because of one of the tunes in the show. There is something about words weaving a tale set to catchy music that sticks in your head and lodges in your heart, especially when it’s about something as passionate as patriotism.

So of course when the early buzz hit on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, my mind started humming. And then came All The Hype.

The New Yorker: “An achievement of historical and cultural reimagining.”

Ben Brantley of the New York Times: “A show about young rebels grabbing and shaping the future of an unformed country, Hamilton is making its own resonant history by changing the language of musicals… Hamilton makes us feel the unstoppable, urgent rhythm of a nation being born.”

Chris Jones of The Chicago Tribune: “It was inspired by Ron Chernow’s masterwork of a biography, but Hamilton is many things. A reinvention of the musical. An overdue diversification of a stolid form. A loving tribute to the empty chairs and empty tables of the shows that have gone before. A reminder that America was built by young risk-takers, not serious old white men who stare out at us from currency about to become obsolete. But it is most of all a meditation on that most American of debates — the rewards and limits of ambition and an exploration of what gives us all our best shot at happiness.”

Alex Gale of Billboard: “Hamilton’s stage production should be required viewing for every American citizen…”

With raves like this, I did the only thing possible. Like a kid who once bought the Stevie Wonder album she coveted to give to her brother for his birthday (he was decidedly unappreciative), I scored two Hamilton tickets for the Chicago production and gave them to my husband for Christmas. Fortunately it was something that he wanted as well, and we certainly were not disappointed – it blew our expectations through the roof of the Private Bank Theater. Hamilton is brilliant, in-your-face, and nuanced on so many levels.

Enough said, because dozens of glowing reviews have seemingly said it all, and so eloquently. All I’m saying is that I’ve been crushing on Hamilton from the moment I heard Wayne Brady belt the first note of the show as Aaron Burr. Obsessed. I’ve read the books and reviews, watched the documentaries, and listened to the soundtrack til the songs reverberate in my sleep. I wake up several times each night with Thomas Jefferson and the Schuyler sisters warbling in my brain on a zany continual loop. There is only one remedy for this neurotic malady: I must see Hamilton again, if only to get him out of my system. Especially now that he’s come to San Francisco to see me.

I paid a pretty pence for our first set of tickets to the show, so it’s ridiculous to once again shell out the cost of a little vacation, a new sofa, or a mortgage payment for a mere three hours of song and dance. My mind whirled through possibilities. I scoured the web and willed down the price of tickets – well that was foolish folly. I considered buying another set of tickets to give to Tony for our anniversary, but that probably wouldn’t go over as well as the Christmas gift. I started playing the daily Broadway lottery, but that became an addictive crapshoot. I finally just chilled and “put it out to the universe” – come what may. Lo and behold, a few days later I received a call from a dear, generous friend who ended up with an extra ticket and offered to sell it to me at face value, along with the possibility of another one for my husband. As Hami would say, “Chick-a-plao!”

It’s quite fortunate to have such a big-hearted friend who knows I’ve been pining for Hami and understands that one show is a necessity for everyone but definitely not enough for devotees. My heart and revolutionary gratitude go to her. But there is also a bit of magic in the woo-woo concept of putting something out to the universe to manifest the miracle or desired outcome. Of course it does take more than hoping and dreaming – there’s a great deal of thought process and sweat equity involved in manifestation. Despite the nights of Hamilton lyrics disrupting my sleep, it was far easier to manifest a ticket than to conjure up the book I’ve been yearning to write. These past two months I’ve spent inordinately more time on Hamilton than on writing. So now that my ticket is secure, perhaps I can will myself back to my little desk for some truly productive manifesting.

* If you want to conjure up your own tickets to see Hamilton in San Francisco without starving yourself for a month or two, try playing the daily digital lottery. Go to hamilton.shnsf.com and scroll down to Hamilton Lottery for a link to the digital entry. You can enter once a day for the next day’s performance, and winning allows you to buy two tickets for $10 each.

* If you manage to secure tickets, do yourself a favor and prep for the show. Hamilton is a jam-packed, fast-paced mash-up of history and pop culture, so you’ll get much more out of it if you are familiar with the music, the characters, and the story.

  • Watch the PBS documentary “Hamilton’s America”.
  • Watch the CBS 60 Minutes shows “The Making of the Hamilton Cast Album” and “Hamilton: The Backstage Tour”.
  • Read Hamilton The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, Alexander Hamilton’s Guide to Life by Jeff Wilser, and – if you’re really ambitious – Ron Chernow’s hefty biography Alexander Hamilton.
  • Read the Hamilton reviews online.
  • Listen to the soundtrack. Betcha can’t listen just once.

The late 1700’s were a contentious time in our early nation – in many ways not so different from today. Hamilton is a hopeful antidote to the frustrations of our unhinged modern day political system, and I truly wish every American citizen could manifest a ticket. Hopefully Hollywood will turn it into a movie for all to see – none too soon.

 

My Shot (Hamilton – Original Broadway Cast)

 

The Schuyler Sisters (Hamilton – Original Broadway Cast)

 

The Room Where It Happens (Hamilton – Original Broadway Cast)

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sharon Burke
    Mar 30, 2017 @ 19:08:44

    We felt the same way LOVED IT! and you can win the lottery! My friend Janet Evans won the lottery last week and was second row center. Great post, dear Jana.

    Reply

  2. Tom Aplin
    Mar 31, 2017 @ 05:03:07

    Chernow is outstanding. I read his book on George Washington – stunning. I have Hamilton on my bedside, yet unread. Now I feel motivated. Alas, I probably won’t get much time to read as I head down to a remote corner of Baja with 70 high school seniors and 30 chaperones and teachers to study marine ecology over Spring Break (and do some fishing, paddleboarding and snorkeling too). Thanks for inspiring me to read about AH – I only know that he was Washington’s young protege and a very inspired founder who, until now, got too little recognition.

    Reply

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